DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     November 3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 208


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

118.   Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P.

        He is called the "healer." That would be Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Austrian Dominican who has sought to soothe a growing schism in his homeland from the fallout and fall of the previous Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Hans Herman Groer, the Benedictine prelate whose career ended in shame because of homosexual tendencies and child abuse. The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Schonborn, one of the youngest bishops, immediately upon Groer's retirement and it has been an uphill battle for the young Schonborn whose temperament and personality are warm and inviting. Through this determination and caring manner, he has broken down walls that have risen in light of Austrian modernism and the hierarchy's failure there to live up to the ideals of the Church.

        He was born in Skalsko, Bohemia on January 22, 1945 and his parents fled to Austria when he was only nine months old. At the age of 18 young Christoph entered the Dominican Order and seven years later was ordained a priest in the Order of Preachers in 1970. After more studies and pastoral work he became a student pastor in Graz University in 1973 for two years until he was promoted to associate professor of Dogma at the University of Fribourg in 1976, then Professor of Theology a year later and in 1981 he became Professor for Dogmatic Theology at the same institution until 1991. In 1980 he was appointed a member of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue Commission of Switzerland for seven years as well as a member of the foundation "Pro Oriente" in 1984. In 1987 he was appointed Secretary for the Draft-Commission of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, a position he held until 1992.

        On September 29, 1991 Pope John Paul II made him Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna. He was promoted to Co-Adjutor Bishop of Vienna on April 13, 1995 and five months later on September 14, 1995 he was named the acting Archbishop of Vienna. He was further honored by His Holiness when he was elevated to the cardinalate during the most recent Consistory of February 21, 1998, receiving the titular church of Jesus the Divine Worker. He enjoys curial membership in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Oriental Churches as well as the Pontifical Council for Culture. There are some prognostics who believe Cardinal Schonborn is being groomed quite possibly to take over in three or four years as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a very important curial position now held by the esteemed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. At 54 he is one of the youngest of the cardinals and is quite favored by the Holy Father and in the same line of thinking as Cardinal Ratzinger and John Paul II. There already is mounting a struggle between the people of Austria and the Holy See for the people love him dearly and it is because of him there was not an all-out schism there. Yet the Vatican sees this bright young prelate as a force in the new millennium for the universal Church. It will be interesting to see what develops for some are even touting him as papal material. Only God knows what is in store for this loyal son of the Church.

November 3, 1999       volume 10, no. 208


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